RON RUSSELL, Executive Director EPIC Theater Ensemble
Ron co-founded Epic as an attempt to synthesize: the Neuroscience degree, and the passion for activism, he received from Oberlin College; his MFA in directing from Louisiana State University that he received while helping found the state theatre of Louisiana, Swine Palace; and his lifelong belief in the power of arts education to catalyze social change. After acting as Founding Artistic Director of the nationally acclaimed Summer Theatre Enrichment Program at El Centro de Servicios in Lorain. Ohio, from 1992-1995, Ron founded UBI Rep Theatre in San Diego, then came to New York City as Education Director at Theatre for a New Audience. There from 1996-2001, Ron administered one of the nation’s most exciting and in-depth programs for introducing NYC Public School students to Shakespeare, serving over 25,000 students during his tenure, and created new programming including the Playwriting Program at Project Renewal, an assisted living facility for formerly homeless men. Ron sat on the Arts-in-Education panel of the New York State Council on the Arts and now acts as a NYSCA Arts-in-Education program auditor and as educational advisor to programs across New York City and State. He has also directed extensively regionally and in NYC including 10 Off-Broadway productions for Epic, including OTHELLO, MACBETH, Kate Fodor’s HANNAH AND MARTIN, Vern Thiessen’s EINSTEIN’S GIFT, and George Bernard Shaw’s WIDOWERS’ HOUSES in a new adaptation he co-wrote with Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr.), and an unimaginably high number of readings and workshops. He co-adapted and directed ANTIGONE and THE VISIT for Epic’s in-school “Journeys Series” and co-designs curricula at Epic’s partners schools. He is a Lead Teaching Artist and Site Manager of Epic’s year-long sequential programs at the Bronx High School for Writing and Communication Arts; he also directs Epic’s nationally-acclaimed afterschool Shakespeare REMIX at that school. His teaching experience includes over 50 educational sites, reaching over 10,000 young people, and his work as an educator in NYC has been recognized by citations from the Municipal Arts Society and Mayors Guiliani and Bloomberg.